Meanings at the Text Level: A Co-Evolutionary Approach

A Co-Evolutionary Approach

by Thanh Nyan (Author)
©2004 Monographs 196 Pages


If language and the brain are co-evolved and language as a latecomer can avail itself of pre-existing means to solve its own problems, then it should be possible to describe it in terms of processing strategies and constraints arising from brain systems. This is precisely what this study attempts to do with respect to the emergence of three types of higher-level meanings: direct speech acts, built-in conditions for their success and non-defective performance and constraints on sequencing of an argumentational kind. In so doing there are three main issues it needs to address. What types of problem arise at the text level that could have led to the emergence in question? Is there a clear parallel between these problems and those faced by brain systems? What solutions have been evolved to cater for the latter, which could have been co-opted by language? Finally there is the question of the extent to which such an account is compatible with a global theory of brain function such as Edelman’s Theory of Neuronal Group Selection.


ISBN (Softcover)
Bedeutung Psycholinguistik Mensch direct-speech act co-evolution environmental factor background knowledge categorization divergent thinking Evolution argumentational meaning
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2004. 196 pp.

Biographical notes

Thanh Nyan (Author)

The Author: T. Nyan received a Doctorat d’Etat in Linguistics and Philosophy from the University of Paris (Sorbonne). She teaches French Linguistics and Pragmatics at the University of Manchester. She has published extensively on various aspects of meaning at the text level, including discourse markers, context construction, argumentation and categorization and has held fellowships from Pembroke College, Oxford and the Rockefeller Foundation.


Title: Meanings at the Text Level: A Co-Evolutionary Approach